> 2011 race reports
15/10/11 UKA British Fell & Hill Relay Championships - John Duff (with John's photos)

Wall to wall sunshine and superb running made for a great day out at the FRA relays in Kettlewell on Saturday.  The organisation by Bingley Harriers was first class, the setting in Wharfedale idyllic, and a wonderful grassy downhill straight made exciting viewing at the finish.  At the sharp end, Dark Peak won with Borrowdale second.  Bingley won the ladies race followed by Hunters Bog Trotters.  But the real questions on everyone’s lips were – would the NFR A team beat NFR vets, and how would NFR ladies perform?

The first leg was a sharp blast up and down the westerly escarpment.  Gareth Huxley ran well for the vets, finishing with a narrow lead over Lawrence Johnson for the A team.  Steph Scott also had a good run for NFR ladies.

Leg 2 was the pairs leg and was a longer 9.5 miles to the north with 2,500 ft of climbing.  Essentially it was 2 runnable (for the fit) climbs interspersed with a steep descent and some peat bogs for good measure.  I ran this leg with Dexter for the vets.  Dexter gave me a hard time on the climb, whilst I returned the compliments on the descent.  We handed over about 12 minutes ahead of the A team for whom George Nicholson & Bernard Kivlehan had a good steady run.   For NFR ladies, Louise Wilkinson & Katherine Davis paired well and finished with smiles on their faces.

Leg 3 was the nav leg.  Geoff Davis & Paul Hainsworth set off for NFR vets in the lead, but would they return in front of Andrew Higgins and Will Horsley for the A team?  Both teams navigated safely, but in the end youth won the day with the A team finishing narrowly ahead.  For NFR ladies, Sue Mitchell & Susan Davis took some excellent lines making up several places and were justifiably pleased with their run.

Geoff and Paul

This set the stage for our leg 4 runners.  Would Gary Jones for the A team prevail over Lee Bennett for the vets, and how many places could Karen Robertson make up?  As NFR eagerly waited at the finishing line, they were greeted with the sight of Gary Jones sprinting in to bring the A team home first.  What’s more, he had run all the way off Great Whernside with just one shoe, the other having come off in a bog.  Lee also had a solid run and wasn’t far behind.  Karen ran really well, catching up lots of ladies including 3 on the last little climb.

The tale of the one-shoed runner had a further twist.  As a Pudsey & Bramley vet finished, he proudly held up a Walsh trainer to the delight of his team-mates.  It turned out to be none other than Gary’s shoe which the P&B runner had spotted in a peat bog.

All in all, it was a wonderful day out.  NFR fielded 3 teams who all performed well.  Many thanks are due to our team captain and organiser Will Horsley.

Andrew and Will on the Nav leg

NFR Girls Team


more photos from John

John Duff

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